Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is creating a new garden in Adventure Quest with lots of educational and community benefits. Adventure Quest is the largest community-built outdoor play space and a natural fit to have a pollinator garden.
“On several occasions science classes at Leonardo’s have studied the development and metamorphosis of butterflies and releasing them at Adventure Quest,” says Executive Director, Tracy Bittle. “It’s exciting that we get to take this education to an even higher level.”
A new pollinator garden is in the works this fall and come spring many beautiful, native Oklahoma flowers will bloom. This garden will feature native wildflowers and be a great place for foraging pollinators to enjoy the entire season. The Monarch butterfly is one of the pollinators that will benefit from this garden with specific milkweed and nectar plants that will help improve habitat.
Oklahoma is centrally located in the Monarch migration flyway and is an important path for the butterflies. Milkweed is the only plant that Monarch caterpillars eat so this is a vital plant.
Community volunteers have come together to clean up the Adventure Quest green area. Leonardo’s took the pledge with Okies for Monarchs to prepare and plant a special seed pack with Oklahoma native plants. Volunteers tilled and planted the seeds.
In spring time this garden will flourish and become a great place for families to watch and learn about the native plants and important pollinators. Leonardo’s also plans on hosting educational talks about Monarch Butterflies and other pollinators.
Follow the progress of the garden on Leonardo’s social media and website. Okies for Monarchs has more information on where to buy seeds and plants in Oklahoma to plant in your home garden. http://www.okiesformonarchs.org/
The yummy smell of pancakes filled the air at Leonardo's on Saturday, December 1, when families came to the museum in their pajamas and had breakfast.
Santa and Mrs. Claus came to meet the children and take a photo. Children also could write letters to Santa, paint a special Christmas ornament and get their face painted. Several of our critters joined in the fun and also dressed in pajamas. The museum opened early for the event and families could play in the museum after they attended the special event.
The museum is decorated for the season which provides a great opportunity for photos. Come play at Leonardo's today!
School is out for fall break so come to Leonardo’s Children’s Museum for Fall Festival Reinvented, Thursday, October 18 through Saturday October 20 throughout the museum business hours of 10 am to 5 pm.
“New this year will be three days of fall season fun,” says Executive Director Tracy Bittle, “We are celebrating fall with a museum full of special art and science activities.” All extra activities will be included with the price of admission. ($9 per person for anyone over 2 years old)
The Fall Festival will be packed full of fun for the whole family. The Oklahoma Museum Network Science Truck will be at Leonardo’s for the entire festival as well as face painting and special fall art activities. Children are encouraged to dress up for costume parades through the museum. Each day of the festival the first 100 paid guests will receive a Leonardo’s water bottle.
Costume Parades at: 1:30 pm
Face painting at: 10:00-11:00 am 1:00-2:00 pm 4:00-5:00 pm
Critter Talk: Learn what critters do in the fall 11 am 2 pm
Special Fall Crafts and Special Fall Photo Op
Learn & play in grain after harvest in fall.
Explore the new Kid Inventor Exhibit
Explore Science with the Science Museum of Oklahoma Science Truck
This weekend will also have discounts on memberships purchased so families can enjoy Leo’s throughout the year for pennies on the dollar. New members can get a 20 percent discount with one year paid. Or Leonardo’s will waive the first month payment for EFT pay membership. For extra fun you can enter to win tickets to the extremely popular Paw Patrol Live shows November 27 and 28.
The roar of the engine or blare of an emergency siren will be stirring at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum’s H & J Services Motor Mania. It is Saturday, October 13, from 10 am until 12 pm. The 200 block of East Maple Street will be blocked and Leonardo’s parking lot will be packed with machinery and vehicles of all shapes and sizes. Children can see and touch lots of cool vehicles and large trucks and get to meet some of the folks who professionally operate these vehicles. This is a safe manner for children to learn without being exposed to the dangers of these machines.
“It is a great time for families to get close to many interesting and exciting vehicles they may see driving on the road,” says Executive Director Tracy Bittle, “they may be inspired to become a fire fighter or police officer after getting to meet a real professional.”
This special event is $5. For members and $9 for non-members and includes a drink and a meal. Sponsor T & C Meats will provide the delicious meat!!
Once a non-descript stairwell now has been transformed with a new mural at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum. As guests climb to the second floor of the museum they will start at sea level, then see the beach, next the sky and onward to outer space. The mural was made possible by an anonymous donor who wished to honor longtime Enid Physiology and Astronomy Instructor Mr. Nolen Harsh. On Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 11:30 am there will be a brief opening ceremony and light luncheon to celebrate the mural’s completion. Activities will take place on 1st floor near the stairwell mural and in the 1st floor Birthday Room. Any and all former Enid educators in the area are welcome to attend! Central National Bank is generously providing the meal.
“Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is privileged to serve as home to this educational, artistic tribute to Mr. Harsh. Historically our community has had some exceptional people teach and graduate from our school system. I am a proud graduate also. Many of my teachers were a tremendous influence on me, I didn’t have Mr. Harsh in the classroom, but I attended during his tenure,” said Executive Director Tracy Bittle, “Your community’s children’s museum is the perfect place to exhibit Mr. Harsh’s field, continue education in his honor and recognize his remarkable service.”
Some very special artists participated in honoring Mr. Harsh as well. Founding Leonardo’s Executive Director Cheryl Swanson along with Pam Gilbreath took on the challenge of creating an interactive mural. The artists wanted it to be beautiful and educational as well. They decided to use state symbols in the design to allow children to learn and have pride for the state. They researched their concepts for accuracy and NASA was a big resource as they planned for the solar system and onward to deep space.
Both Swanson and Gilbreath are former art teachers from Waller Middle School and Leonardo’s Summer Art Institute (now called DaVinci Day Camp). They have done and continue to do various project together. “We have worked together for so long that we trust each other’s judgments,” said Gilbreath who added that the two have had a long friendship. The artists have collaborated on many Enid art projects.
Using the existing hallway was not a challenge but inspiration for the artists. When Gilbreath saw bricks stacked facing out in a row along the wall she saw the top of Gloss Mountain. Swanson thought of painting cut outs that would be attached to the wall to give the mural a 3D effect. “We make perfect partners, “said Gilbreath, “she has great connections and wild ideas and I find a way to reel in her ideas to make it reality.” The two artists were also assisted by Andy Shearon who painted the highest parts of the stairwell mural including the deep space portion.
The artists began the mural while the museum was open and children would admire the progress. One day a young girl noticed the fish painted on the mural. She proudly told Gilbreath that she knew what kind of fish it was, “She guessed a catfish because of its ‘whiskers.’”
The mural honors this outstanding, devoted public educator Mr. Harsh but also pays tribute to Leonardo’s founders. Helen Garriott an art teacher who painted many seascapes and Owen a NASA Astronaut. As museum guests proceed from one floor to another there is now even more fun and learning to be done!
Sewing is a practical skill, but also a skill that requires focus and creativity. Fashion can be haute couture, custom dress making or a form of creative expression. Leonardo’s Children’s Museum has a new educational class for youth interested in fashion, thanks to a grant from Junior Welfare League of Enid. The JWL Fashion and Design Institute@Leonardo’s is open for youth from 3rd grade to 8th grade and will be held after school beginning Wednesday, October 3, from 3:30 to 5:30 for an eight week session. The class will start up again in January for another eight week session.
“It will bring out skills they didn’t think they had,” says Education Coordinator Joyce Fayles who will be the instructor for the class. She says students will learn about different fabrics and how to use a sewing machine. They also will learn how to hand sew. These basic skills will then be used to make a fabric purse. The purpose is to teach STEAM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) the JWL Fashion and Design Institute will educate and empower young people who have a desire for high fashion and would like to take a look at this industry. Now these ambitious youth can explore this career option here at Leonardo’s.
The class is open to all boys and girls to learn important life skills and will start with the basics. The class is $72 for members and $80 for non-members and a healthy snack is also included. All materials are included in the tuition. Go to Education Classes for the enrollment form or call for more information at 580-233-2787.
Former Phillips University Ceramic Art Professor Paul Denny loved helping people and making pottery. He recently passed away, but his memory will live on at Leonardo’s Children’s Museum with a new pottery class. On Thursday, October 4, Paul’s Beginning Pottery class will start at Leonardo’s and the teacher has a special connection to the art professor because she is his granddaughter. “I have knowledge of pottery because I grew up around it,” says Jamie Castle, Leonardo’s Art Education Coordinator.
Castle, an Oklahoma state certified teacher, will instruct students age 13 and up, on beginning skills needed in pottery. “I’m going to teach the class like my grandpa did,” says Castle. She says students will start with the basics and be able to make a pinch, slap and coil pot by the end of the eight week class. Castle’s mother and aunt who learned a lot from their father will lend a hand with the class.
“His passion was pottery and he had his own studio in his house so when he retired he could still work,” says Castle. Denny was one of the original teachers involved with Leonardo’s beginnings and helped get the “pottery lab” started. Originally the pottery lab was in the North East corner of the first floor of Leonardo’s and was a great space to make things that Denny would later fire in the kiln. It is believed that the special kiln was produced in the space because during renovation it had to be disassembled to remove it. This area is now a workshop for exhibit repair and the Education Annex has a kiln room.
Grandpa loved making vases Castle said.
His work was popular and also sold in art galleries. As many artists have done he exchanged art with fellow artists he met worldwide in his travels. His own personal collection had several famous art pieces. In turn his art is spread throughout the country and abroad.
Denny was very generous donating pottery to many local charities and he also made mugs that were sold in the Leonardo’s gift shop. Longtime residents may have some of his work in their collections
It is fitting that Leonardo’s founder Helen Garriott will also be a part of this new legacy because Paul’s Beginning Pottery Class will be taught in the Helen Garriott Classroom. The eight week class is $72 for members and $80 for non-members. It is open for teens age 13 to adult.
Leonardo’s Children’s Museum is looking for inventors! A new exhibit is coming Friday, September 14, designed to excite the minds of young Leonardo da Vincis, Stephanie Kwoleks and Nikola Teslas.
Did you know that the popsicle was invented by Frank Epperson in 1905 when he was only eleven years old. A fifteen year old, Chester Greenwood, invented ear muffs! The inventor of rollar skates, John Joseph Merlin first demonstrated his invention by careening into a party while playing the violin and then crashed into a mirror.
“‘Kid Inventor is a fun way to inspire children to use their creativity and explore possibilities,” said Executive Director Tracy Bittle. “Kid Inventor,” was developed by the Oklahoma Museum Network and funded by the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The new exhibit encourages children to design, test and build unique creations using a variety of materials and technologies.
Guests are invited to sketch and shape ideas and then in the build area, the design comes to life: a car, a plane, a monster — and beyond — can be built with materials ranging from Legos to string, paper and straws. Finally, inventors can move to the test area to investigate how their creations react to variables like a wind tube, an airstream table, a timed race track or a launch pad.
In the exhibit’s “Tech Studio,” guests can brush up on animation skills, practice coding, and try their hands at sound mixing and engineering, and in “Spare Parts,” creators can build from the ground up with only their imaginations to limit them. This new exhibit replaces the popular Backyard Bugs Exhibit and is included with paid admission. Come play at Leo's today!